Lava Inspired Hollow Form with Hand Threaded Finial

Courtesy of G Brad Lewis/Aurora/Getty Images

Lava ‘Eruption’ Inspiration

This lava inspired hollow form is dedicated to my wonderful Step-Daughter, Hannah, for graduating this week from Bristol University with her second degree, Master of Science in Vulcanology.

Vulca-what?? I hear you cry.  Vulcanology: the study of volcanoes.


Well done Hannah!

Hollow Form Inspired By Lava

The base of the vessel was turned from spalted Sycamore.   The blank came from stock I harvested in 2014.  The piece is styled in a slightly Japanese fashion, introduced to me by Mark Sanger during a two-day workshop in the summer of 2016.  I will be offering a review of the session (somewhat late) in a future post.

The finial is turned from a piece of ash, chosen for its prominent grain pattern, which I hoped would enhance the ‘flame’ aspect of the piece.  I am aware that the finial isn’t quite as elegant as might be expected, but there was madness in my method.  I wanted a little more wood towards the tip in order to carry the colour up and continue the feel of ‘explosive lava’.  I was also considerate of the fact that Hannah, though incredibly brilliant in achieving, is horrendously clumsy and would likely break anything finer!  In my mind I carved the tip of the finial into a ‘flame pattern’.  In reality, I felt an attempt to carve would ruin the piece!

Lava Hollow Form with Threaded Finial

Joining the two parts together is a hand threaded boxwood plug, used since neither sycamore or ash can be hand chased.  This is a method I have used previously.  Though this paired plug was turned specifically for this piece, I have previously turned a number of matched pairs and saved them for future projects.

I turned a couple of similar shaped pieces in the ‘run up’ to this one in order to fine tune the shape I wanted.  The very first one I turned, with Mark Sanger, was used as a canvass for different texturing techniques.

A practice piece before the final Lava Form. Interesting warping!

Texture Exercise, With Mark Sanger

A Heart Felt Apology to All…


In August 2016 I vanished from social media without saying goodbye. Having built up your trust via Facebook, my blog here at and the AcolyteTurner YouTube channel, I abandoned you. I hope that after reading this you will forgive me and welcome me back to your social media circles.

Those that have ‘followed me’ over the past few years may be all too aware that I suffer a number of health problems, though not all of my ‘complications’ are known to you. I have for many years been fighting a deteriorating condition in my left foot and ankle. 18 months ago I was lucky enough to be referred to a good surgeon who started to lay plans for restoration surgery. Sadly, last year, he gave me the frightening news that he felt he couldn’t make a repair and that my best option was complete below-knee amputation.

In the lead-up to this devastating news, my wife and I had been making changes to our home, along with a small extension (I believe they call this an ‘addition’ in many countries that aren’t at the centre of my universe), in order to provide a safer and more accessible space for us. This renovation work went horrendously wrong, due to problems found underground, and eventually led to me being unable to safely access my beloved workshop.

In a nutshell, the combination of leg amputation and no workshop pushed me ‘over the edge’ and I turned my back on virtually everything ‘wood related’. This probably wasn’t the best and most adult action, but hey it’s my life 😉

So, here we are in February 2017. Our renovation work is ongoing; due to all the problems we ran out of money. However we have (most) walls complete, a poured concrete floor and a new roof over our heads. The rest will come with time.


Following a further series of CAT scans and tests, specialists have now decided that they can save my ankle (phew! was that a relief – I am rather attached to my leg!) and hopefully the operation will happen very soon. The downside to that though is that I will be off my feet for around 6 months. Between now and then however, I am spending as much time in the workshop as possible and look forward to sharing my efforts with you again soon. I promise that I won’t vanish again, even if I am once again unable to turn.

During my ‘disappearance’ I received a great number of enquiries about my absence which lead to a wonderful show of support and good wishes from many. A HUGE thank you to everyone of you, you may never know how much I valued your comments and how much they have helped in getting me back here again now.

Many of you may recall that I bought a new lathe (Jet 3520b) last year and also an Axminster AT1416VS midi-lathe. I only had a few hours use of the Jet, and never even turned the Axminster on until this month. I shall review them and comment on their merits as soon as possible.

A final apology must go to Stephen Ogle and Erik Anderson (The naked Turner). Both put a good deal of effort into information for my regular (and greatly received) Featured Turner articles on I promise that they will appear soon now that I am back ‘in the real world’.

Once again – a sincere apology to old friends, but also a ‘welcome’ to new!